Competition Short Films

The Cary Theater is proud to present BEYOND: The Cary Film Festival, a celebration of the art of storytelling through short films and screenplays. Our festival strives to welcome filmmakers to the heart of North Carolina by offering the sweetest Southern hospitality we can muster alongside stimulating workshops and opportunities for veteran and newbie filmmakers to network while celebrating the magic of filmmaking. A focus of this event is to bring the community together to experience the best films they’ve never seen.

Our short film competition (film length: 30 minutes or less) is an annual highlight of BEYOND. In previous years we’ve had themes but have decided to open submissions to all short films in any genre. We’re excited for you to tell your most interesting story in the genre you choose.

Our 2019 Bradford Audience Award Winners

  • Fall of the Matador

  • For Love

  • Tin Can

  • Team River Runner: Beyond Paddling



Thursday, June 20 – 7:00 PM


Beyond Her Lens

Director / Writer / Producer: Tereza Hirsch

Beyond Her Lens is inspired by the life and work of female conflict-zone photographer Jana Andert. It follows Alex’s (portrayed by prominent Czech actress Lucie Vondrackova) return to Prague as she attempts to piece together a sense of normalcy after shooting footage in Mosul, Iraq.


A Cure For Loneliness

Director / Producer: Tom White
Writer: Richard F. Russell

Technology has connected us more than ever before, yet in reality many struggle to have meaningful human interaction. Behind closed doors, we admit to therapists and doctors about our social anxieties and growing loneliness.


The Job

Director: Susan W. Caminez
Writer / Producer: Shevy Gutierrez

Following a split-second decision, one man searches for the life he lived before while struggling with the isolation and consequences of PTSD.


Fall of the Matador

Director / Writer / Producer: Griffin Hart Davis

A young matador struggles with his craft as bullfighting threatens not only his life but his emotional and spiritual existence.



Thursday, June 20 – 9:00 PM

For Love


Director / Writer: Kevin Murray
Producer: Catrina Murray

He can save the world; he just can’t talk to a girl. Matt, who seems to be quite the average fellow, shleps through his workdays at a local convenience store, unnoticed by most, including his coworker Maddie, the girl of his dreams. Little do they know that Matt single-handedly saves the world from utter destruction every single night.



Director / Writer / Producer: Stephen Wise

During a time of nomadic civilization, a woman traveling through the wilderness alone comes across a young orphaned girl and must take her to safety while fighting off marauders.


Capitán Kinesis

Director / Writer: Carles Jofre
Producer: Francisco Jiménez

Sebastián is a retired superhero who lives alone in a small flat. He leads a quiet life and it’s ages since he last used his superpowers, but an unexpected visit puts his world at risk and he Will forced to defend it.


Time Saver

Director/Writer/Producer: Caleb Kurowski

After stumbling upon a watch by his deceased girlfriend, a man unintentionally goes back in time that causes his past relationships to crumble.




Friday, June 21 – 9:30 PM


Soul Bones

Director / Writer / Producer: Andrew Huggins

A man living in the Deep South must confront his prejudices when a young boy moves in to the neighborhood and tries to befriend him.


Tin Can


Director / Writer / Producer: Pat Battistini

J.C. came to America as an illegal immigrant when he was just a child. Now, as an adult, he’s still an illegal alien but has managed to persevere and prosper working as a rodeo clown. However, after a series of unfortunate events, J.C. finds himself down on his luck and in search for a new happiness. He eventually finds it near the Mexican border but the price he pays could get him kicked out of the only country he knows.



Director / Writer / Producer: Zoungrana Zalissa

After spending 15 years as a student in France, Naabiga returns to his home village in Africa. As tradition demands, he is to succeed his father as chief after his death, but he doesn’t want to. For him, dancing is everything, and he wants to make it his career – yet he cannot escape his destiny. Torn between his duties and his plans, he will have to face the situation.




Saturday, June 22 – 4:00 PM

Team River Runner: Beyond Paddling

Director / Producers: Kirk Hewitt / Takayuki Yamato

Durham-based Horizon Productions presents a documentary film about Team River Runner, a national volunteer program helping wounded and disabled war veterans heal through whitewater paddling sports. The film tells the story of a group of wounded Raleigh veterans who found healing in the rivers of North Carolina, and in the support of fellow veterans and volunteer whitewater paddlers who are grateful for their service.


Saving The Va Big Eared Bats

Director: Beth Davison

A multi-agency effort to save an endangered species of bats. In the high country of North Carolina, a planned highway widening project and an old mystery sets the stage for this short film about discovery and survival.


Powering On: Looking Forward, Never Back

Director: James Hyams
Writer: James Hyams / Jeremy Rigby
Producer: Jeremy Rigby

John Rigby (91), starts his day like most working singles in Brisbane – he packs his bag for work and heads to the gym for a midweek workout. Sounds normal, but everything about John’s story is not what it seems. In a freak accident just months earlier, John checked himself into the hospital for an X-ray. The Doctors discovered he had two fractured vertebrae and advanced bowel cancer. Death seemed inevitable. Just twelve weeks later, with his cancer in remission, John is back lifting weights. His sights are firmly set on defending his World Natural Body Building title. An amazing feat, but not surprising for John, an internationally recognized palaeobotanical scientist who has made his life’s mantra to keep powering on: “Always forward, never back.” But will he reach his goal of becoming the world’s first centenarian body building competitor? This is an amazing true story.




Sunday, June 22 – 2:00 PM

Winner of the 2019 Final Cut Showcase: Restitution – Filmmaker W. Jarvis Rooker

This block features final cuts from our Rough Cuts Review program, which offers local filmmakers a forum to screen their in-progress films and receive moderated feedback. This block of films celebrates a selection of new and improved rough cuts screened between September 2018 and April 2019.  The Final Cut Showcase features a competition for the Best Final Cut.  As always, the focus of Rough Cuts Review is to be inclusive of filmmakers of all experience levels and to bring the community together to experience the works of local and emerging filmmakers in the Triangle.

Featured films:

  • Straight Lines in Nature – Filmmaker: Lucas Smith

  • Quantum Doughnut – Filmmaker: Ray Petrolino

  • Music Lessons – Filmmaker: Leslie Grand

  • Restitution – Filmmaker: W. Jarvis Rooker





Captain Marvel

Wednesday, June 19 – 7:00 PM, Downtown Park

Kick off the festival with this FREE family film shown outdoors. Carol Danvers becomes one of the universe’s most powerful heroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

Kids Costume Contest!

What’s Your Super Power? We want to meet the future super heroes of Cary! Make up your own super hero – it could be Ice Cream Man, or Radical Running Girl, or better!  We want to see what your very own, special super hero looks like! Wear your costume and win prizes, with lots of picture taking and fun!  Bond Brothers Beer, Fresh Local Ice Cream, and Patio Dogs will be onsite.

Meet Sergeant Yeager – American Humane Hero Dog

We’ll honor Sergeant Yeager, a Cary resident and finalist in the 2019 American Humane Hero Dog Awards, and his beloved handler, Lance Cpl. Abraham Tarwoe.

Sergeant Yeager honorably performed combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Improvised Explosive Detection Dog with the USMC. Yeager has been credited with detecting the locations of dozens of explosive devices. During his three combat tours, Yeager participated in over 100 patrols, tasked with clearing routes for his fellow Marines. On April 12, 2012, Yeager suffered shrapnel wounds from an IED that caused him to lose part of his ear. He was awarded the Purple Heart for his injuries. Unfortunately, the same explosion took the life of his handler, Lance Cpl. Abraham Tarwoe. The pair was virtuously trying to protect other Marines in the 2nd Battalion, 9th Marine Regiment in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Fellow Marines attest to the unbreakable bond between Tarwoe and Yeager. After the attack, Yeager was transported back to the U.S. and treated for his injuries until he was stable enough to retire from the USMC. Today, Yeager at 12 years of age is beginning to show signs of aging, though his spirit is undiminished. Voting for the 2019 Hero Dog is still open –  VOTE FOR  SGT. YEAGER!



The Best Years of Our Lives

Thursday, June 20 – 1:00 PM

Followed by a Q&A with local veterans. 

Three World War II veterans return home to small-town America to discover they and their families have been irreparably changed as they re-enter civilian life. Fred (Dana Andrews) is a war hero who, unable to compete with more highly skilled workers, must return to his low-wage soda jerk job. Bank executive Al (Fredric March) gets into trouble for offering favorable loans to veterans. After losing both hands in the war, Homer (Harold Russell) returns to his loving fiancée, but struggles to adjust. See the 7-time Academy Award-winning film that christened a new generation of war cinema: the “coming home” movie.  Produced by Samuel Goldwyn, this is among the best films ever made and honored by the National Film Registry.



Cancer Rebellion

Friday, June 21 – 7:00 PM

Hernan Barangan’s intimate and cinematic documentary brings to light the hidden life of the modern day teenager who’s been diagnosed with cancer. He explores their dreams, struggles and fears with a familiarity that only a fellow cancer survivor can bring. You see, when he as 15 – he was in their shoes. In an effort to exorcise his own cancer demons, Hernan takes to the road to find other people who have also been diagnosed with cancer in their youth. Cancer Rebellion tells the story of this quest, as it maps out the path that all young cancer patients travel from diagnosis to aftermath. Q&A with Hernan and the executive director of Teen Cancer America, Simon Davies.

Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who are the driving force behind Teen Cancer America, which partners with hospitals across the country to develop specialized facilities and services. This includes building teen-friendly environments, developing standards for age-targeted care, improving collaboration between pediatric and adult specialists, and enabling dedicated research to improve outcomes and survival for our young people.



Batman Forever

Saturday, June 22 – 7:00 PM

Come meet the screenwriters of BATMAN FOREVER, the most popular film of 1995.

Batman (Val Kilmer) battles the schizophrenic, scarred former district attorney Harvey Dent, aka Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones) and The Riddler (Jim Carrey) with help from an amorous psychologist (Nicole Kidman) and a young circus acrobat who becomes Robin, his sidekick (Chris O’Donnell). Q&A with the film’s screenwriters Janet Scott Batchler and Lee Batchler.

The Batchlers are notable as the dynamic duo Hollywood writers of BATMAN FOREVER, POMPEII, SMOKE & MIRRORS, and MY NAME IS MODESTY, among many other projects. Janet will also host a screenwriting masterclass on Saturday. Come enjoy the film and learn from experienced Hollywood screenwriters!

Janet is a screenwriting professor at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. She’s a graduate of the prestigious Directing Workshop for Women at the American Film Institute, and served on the board of directors of the Alliance of Women Directors from 2004 to 2010.

She is well-known in the Harry Potter fan world after developed a groundbreaking course for USC’s School of Cinematic Arts on The Harry Potter Franchise, the first such class in the country. She wrote a book of prognostications, What Will Harry Do?: The Unofficial Guide to Payoffs and Possibilities in Book 7 in 2006. She also appeared as a guest expert in The Hidden Secrets of Harry Potter, a 2007 special on the Arts & Entertainment Network, and has been a keynote speaker at various Harry Potter conventions.